Growing a small, struggling church can be daunting, but it is achievable with the right strategies and mindset. Before diving into this, we must remember that a small church does not mean a wrong or less biblical church. One of the problems with churches in America is that numbers measure everything. You should first go to the Lord and ask if it’s his desire for your church to grow. Sometimes, churches are right where they need to be, and not everyone wants to go to a vast church. Some people may be looking for a small church because they offer pros that large churches can never offer.
How to Grow a Small Struggling Church – Consider The Pros of a Small Church
Small Churches Form a Loving Community Easier
How to Grow a Small Struggling Church. One of the great things about small churches is the level of accountability. The first time I went to church with over 2000 people every Sunday, I could not believe how easy it was to slip in and slip out and be completely unknown by everyone. That is not what the church is about. I became a spectator; I came to be served, get a good word for the week, and leave.
John 13:35 is clear that Christians will be known by how we love each other, and I know this was not happening at the church I attended. There was no love because people got in and out. At a small church, this is not possible. When the congregation is under 100 people, everyone knows everyone, and it’s easy to tell if people are there or not. It’s easier to keep up with the details of those people’s lives.
In small churches, they have smaller staffs and less leadership. When you have less supervision, you depend on people in the congregation to step up more. As a result, you see more people using their God-given gifts to do what 1 Corinthians 12 calls us to do and build the body of Christ. Small churches have fewer people who show up and leave with no role, which is excellent. The church is not a spectator sport, but God calls us all into His mission for glory.
What a blessing that you and I get to play a role in bringing his mission forward. We should not take this lightly; small churches show the rest of the Christians how this should work. There are not 20 staff members to organize and run everything.
The Congregation is Known By Leadership
The last thing to know is that the congregation is known by leadership. Unfortunately, there are too many people in medium and large churches for the administration to know everyone. At best, the elder team can learn all the members, but one person can’t KNOW over 150 people.
In small churches, the pastor can call each person by name and know them. They can learn about their family and life situation, which is beautiful. So many people want to have massive numbers while not realizing how awesome it is to know the flock well that you shepherd.
Here are some tips to help your church grow and thrive if you believe God calls you to reach more people.
Define your Mission and Vision.
It is essential to clearly understand why your church exists and what you hope to achieve. This will help you focus your efforts and make informed decisions that align with your goals.
For people to join you on a mission, they need to know where you’re going. One remarkable thing about large churches is their compelling mission, which is why they have attracted many people. So don’t be scared to paint a massive vision for people. The bigger the picture, the more the idea of achieving it excites people, and they will call other people to join in on the mission.
How to Grow a Small Struggling Church
Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
People are more likely to return to your church if they feel welcomed and included. So make sure your greeters are friendly and approachable, and create opportunities for people to connect. Small churches are good at doing this, but it can almost be to a fault. You don’t want to swarm people like you are desperate.
People want to be greeted and know they are welcomed, but they want room to breathe. We all know what it’s like to walk into a church and be swarmed by 50 people. It feels like that church is desperate. Instead, be intentional about helping people take the following steps but trust the Lord to work.
One of the actual signs of a welcoming church that people don’t think about is a congregation that hangs out after to chat. You want to see people huddled up in groups, having a good time just catching up with each other.
In today’s digital age, having a solid online presence is essential. Create a website and social media pages for your church, and use these platforms to share information about your services, events, and outreach programs. These are just some of the primary ways that you can be reached.
People test out churches by watching a sermon on YouTube. You are almost guaranteed to lose some people without a YouTube presence. Now, here is where this gets tricky. You could be thinking, how will you pull this off with a small budget? You would be SHOCKED how many people are good with cameras in your congregation. If you have no one, pray for the Lord to bring the right people. Moreover, you don’t know unless you ask or try.
You don’t have to make everything about technology, but at least show that you’re willing to make an effort. Show that you care enough to try. This is especially true if you want to reach future generations. Of course, you can’t say you care about the next generation, but you won’t exist in any of the mediums they are in.
Build Relationships with Your Community
How to Grow a Small Struggling Church
Get involved in your community and build relationships with local businesses, schools, and organizations. This will help you reach more people and be not just hearers of the word but doers of the word. The problem with many churches today is that they could close their doors, and the community would not care.
The church should be a beacon of light in any community it is in. We are called to be salt and light in the community, according to Matthew 5. Churches today end up feeling more like country clubs. It’s not about just salvation in Christ but living in the perfect house with a beautiful family and having your entire life put together.
Churches should be places that any person can walk into. They should not be places that fit the comforts of any specific people group. They should be places that serve all! You go into any city in America, and you will see nice churches in the suburbs for one type of person and other churches in the city for another type of person, and it’s sad. The church is for all who call on the name of the Lord and all who want to know who Jesus is.
When you build relationships in the community, what you are saying is that you care more about the community than just having a church building. You recognize that God is already working in that community in a multitude of ways. He is working with teachers, politicians, businessmen, non-profits, and so many other people.
Focus on Discipleship
Discipleship is helping people grow in their faith and relationship with God. Ensure you have programs and resources in place to support the spiritual growth of your members. The church can be a mess, but making disciples of Jesus Christ is the point of all of this. We must warn and encourage our pastors to stay focused on this. It’s not about the programs or the building it’s about people becoming more like Jesus.
Too many churches get caught up in the numbers game. We believe that more is better, but God looks at the faithfulness of people he calls to leadership. Are you willing to make disciples of people no one else cares about? When things are not going well, focus on the point of the church.
Invest in your Leaders
Your church leaders play a critical role in the growth and success of your church. Ensure you invest in their development and provide them with the resources and support they need to lead effectively. Pastors can often get caught up in things that they should be calling leaders to. If you spend all of your time preparing sermons and meeting with people, you won’t have time to raise leaders.
One of the best ways pastors can spend their time is by raising up leaders. For example, say you spend a lot of time doing pastoral care. Raise up a team that can meet the needs of the people in the church. This is what Acts chapter 6 calls churches too. Pastors cannot do everything, but what they can do is raise people to play small roles. It’s a win-win because people feel like they are using their gifts for the Kingdom, and the Body operates the way it should.
How to Grow a Small Struggling Church
Remember, growing a small, struggling church takes time and effort, but with perseverance and faith, you can create a thriving and impactful community of believers.